The Jets solidified their position as the top team in the Central Division with a 5-0 win over Nashville. Connor Hellebuyck stopped all 33 shots he faced in the win to pick up his second shutout of the season, both of which have come over the last three games. In other words, he went 54 games without recording a single goose egg, so he has exceeded expectations during a fantasy playoff week. His recent hot play is great news for the Jets as they hope for a deep playoff run. Those playoffs are now guaranteed, as the Jets clinched a playoff spot with the win.
Kyle Connor led the charge for the Jets, recording a hat trick while adding an assist with a plus-4 and six shots on goal. Connor has turned it up recently with five goals and eight points over his last four games.
Centering Connor’s line, Kevin Hayes had four points of his own (1G, 3A). Hayes is now up to 10 points (4G, 6A) in his 13 games with the Jets. He entered the game with a modest six points in 12 games, but you’d have to think that having linemates like Connor and Patrik Laine (and Nikolaj Ehlers before that) is an upgrade on what he had with the Rangers.
Watch Connor turnstile P.K. Subban on one of his goals:
— Hockey Daily (@HockeyDaily365) March 24, 2019
Speaking of Subban, he may not be smiling as much lately, as he has now been held without a point in seven consecutive games. I know he’s spent some time on IR this season, but his season point total is just 25 points in 57 games. That translates to 36 points over a full season, or likely no more than 30 this season. We can reassess things at season’s end, but for now maybe Subban is one of those guys that you consider dropping in non-keeper formats if you need more immediate help of some kind. I know that his name has kept him on my single-season roster all this time, but I wouldn’t argue if you have already decided to move on.
Playing on separate lines, Brendan Gallagher and Max Domi each scored three points in the Habs’ 7-4 win over Buffalo. Gallagher was especially potent, scoring two goals and adding an assist with a plus-3 and nine shots on goal. Gallagher now has a career-high 33 goals and has reached the 30-goal mark in back-to-back seasons. He’s also taken a minimum of 270 shots in each of the past two seasons. Over the past two seasons, he’s now a top-20 goal scorer and a top-10 shot taker. The low assist totals deflate his overall value in points leagues, but you can easily find assists from other players in multicategory leagues.
So much for my midseason prediction that the Sabres would make the playoffs, as they have now been officially eliminated. They might look to Jeff Skinner’s regression as a significant reason. Skinner has just one goal in his last 17 games after scoring 36 goals over his first 57 games. Maybe you should have sold high when you had the opportunity. His shot totals have remained relatively consistent over these two stretches, so this might simply be a case of some good luck running out.
Don’t bail on the Sabres in fantasy, though. They play an unmatched five games next week. By contrast, the Avalanche and Lightning play only two games next week. For more on the coming week, see our weekly Looking Ahead feature.
Zach Parise was a late scratch for Saturday’s game against Carolina after he was injured during Friday’s game against Washington. Pontus Aberg checked in for Parise, but this was overall a game to forget for the Wild, losing 5-1 to Carolina. Parise was on a four-game point streak entering Saturday’s game, so the Wild will hope this isn’t a long-term issue as they battle for one of the wild card spots in the West.
Jared McCann scored two goals on Saturday, including this amazing shorthanded goal:
— Hockey Daily (@HockeyDaily365) March 24, 2019
McCann entered this game without a point in his last five games, but he has scored 11 goals in just 26 games with the Penguins since being acquired from Florida. Needless to say, his stock has increased since the trade. McCann is now just one goal shy of reaching 20 after he had never scored more than nine goals in each of his previous three seasons.
Zdeno Chara confirmed that he would be back for another season, signing a one-year extension at $2 million. The 42-year-old defenseman has taken a pay cut from the $5 million he is earning this season. Regardless of whether his production is fantasy-worthy anymore, it’s nice to see anyone of 40 continue their career. Chara could be one of the top free agent signings in the history of the NHL, as he has now played for the Bruins for 13 seasons after they signed him away from Ottawa.
Ever since Alexandar Georgiev began factoring into the goaltending equation more (at around the new year), he’s been the Rangers’ goalie to own over Henrik Lundqvist, if you somehow need to own a Rangers’ goalie. To compare:
Lundqvist since January 1: 6-11-3, 3.26 GAA, .899 SV%
Georgiev since January 1: 6-7-3, 2.92 GAA, .914 SV%
Those numbers don’t scream for you to add Georgiev (5% owned in Yahoo), but they should at least tell you that it’s time to move on from Lundqvist (72% owned in Yahoo).
Georgiev was the reason that the Rangers were able to sneak out of Toronto with two points in their pocket, stopping 44 of 45 shots he faced in a 2-1 overtime win.
Philipp Grubauer might be the best waiver-wire pickup in net over the fantasy playoffs. Grubauer stopped 29 of 31 shots he faced in a 4-2 win over the Blackhawks. Grubauer has now earned four consecutive wins, allowing just four goals over that span. It’s been a tale of two seasons for Grubauer, who had a disastrous 3.47 GAA and .890 SV% in early February. Since then he’s been a different goalie with a 6-2-0 record with a 1.05 GAA and .965 SV% over his last ten games. More importantly for Grubauer keeper owners, he’s improving his cause to be the Avs’ starting goalie next season.
Anthony Mantha scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, along with seven shots on goal in the Red Wings’ 3-2 win over Vegas. The goals were Mantha’s first points in seven games, so this was much-needed if you were patient.
This might be a testament to the depth that the Golden Knights possess, but Cody Eakin now has 20 goals. All but one of those goals have been even strength. And yes, that is his first 20-goal season.
Mark Giordano continues to do his thing, scoring a goal and adding two assists with a plus-3 in the Flames’ 3-1 win over the Canucks. He’s shown no signs of slowing down, as he’s currently on a seven-game point streak and is sitting at a point per game (72 points in 73 games) this season. Not too shabby for a pick outside of the top 100, as an improvement of over 30 points from last season might result in a Norris Trophy. Personally, I could have used more hits and blocked shots from him (zeros in both categories) since I’m paying close attention to those categories at the moment. However, I’ll gladly take the rest of the statline.
Andrew Mangiapane might not be in the Flames’ top 6, but he has goals in three consecutive games to go with a plus-5 over that span. The Flames’ top 6 seems fairly set, so Mangiapane might need an injury to another player to crack a spot there and really become relevant in fantasy leagues. You can check out Mangiapane’s Dobber Prospects profile for more.
Brock Boeser now has a nine-game point streak, with four power-play points over that span. He’s now scored at least 25 goals in each of his first two NHL seasons.
Giving credit where credit is due: One day after I suggested dropping Josh Bailey (and a few days after I dropped him myself), he scored two goals and was a plus-3 in Saturday’s matinee game. The Islanders’ veteran had not recorded a point in his previous eight games, and he was without a goal in his last 12 games. Isn’t that weird how that happens?
Amid the mess that is the Ottawa Senators, Brady Tkachuk is just one goal shy of 20 goals. The younger Tkachuk brother scored two goals, including the overtime winner, in the Senators’ 4-3 win over Edmonton. Man, those Tkachuk brothers can sure play.
Need some potential pickups for Sunday? Check out my list of waiver-wire options for that day from yesterday’s Ramblings. Yes, I realize they may only help at this point if your league allows same-day transactions, but there should still be some of those leagues out there. I tweaked my Yahoo league a few years ago to allow for this. If you’ve ever thought about same-day transactions, it helps considerably if you need a roster swap to come into effect immediately. One downside is that I can’t drop a player the same day right after he has played a game. It’s a Yahoo league, in case you’re wondering. Yahoo usually defaults to next-day transactions.
For your starting goalie info, be sure to check out Goalie Post as well. I have a feeling that fantasy owners needing goaltending help will be paying extra close attention to the final game of the day between the Blue Jackets and the Canucks.
Since Sergei Bobrovsky is dealing with an upper-body injury, the Jackets’ playoff hopes might be riding on Joonas Korpisalo, at least for Sunday. The Canucks will be playing the second game of back-to-backs against a Jackets’ team hungry to make the playoffs, which could provide the right formula for a win if you desperately need one. Korpisalo should be readily available in your league (just 6% owned in Yahoo leagues).
As a Canucks’ fan just hoping for better things next season, I would seriously shake my head if Travis Green gave the nod to Jacob Markstrom on consecutive nights. If the focus is on development to some degree and not entirely on clinging to playoff hope, then Green will do the right thing and start Thatcher Demko. The Canucks’ goalie prospect was impressive in his last start, stopping 29 of 31 shots in earning a win against Chicago on Monday.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.